From the SEEfest archives
In 2011 SEEfest partnered with UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Slovenian Film Center to present the first-ever L.A. retrospective of Slovenian post-WWII cinema. Titled Slovenia Begs to Differ, the program featured VALLEY OF PEACE (Dolina Miru), 1957 Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actor Award for John Kitzmiller in the role of the stranded American paratrooper; and VESNA, 1953 socialist rom-com which was so popular that Slovenia’s highest film honor was also named ‘Vesna;’ The pretty actress Metka Gabrijelčič (pictured above) appeared in two more films before leaving acting for a career in civil engineering!
On the playbill were also THE RAFT OF THE MEDUSA (Splav Meduze, 1980), a whimsical throwback to the dada movement in the Balkan backwaters of the 1920s, when Serbian homegrown Zenitism blew some welcoming breath of fresh air onto the art scene; DANCE IN THE RAIN (Ples v dežju, 1961), an enigmatic drama of love between a brooding young painter and an older actress, played by the lovely Duša Počkaj; and PAPER PLANES (Na papirnatih avionih, 1967), featuring an ad man romancing a young ballerina in the Slovenian Alps.
Ten films were shown at the Billy Wilder Theater housed at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. The films were screened from 35mm archival prints, courtesy of the Slovenian Film Center.
We remember Bulgarian-born artist Christo
Christo was famous for his monumental projects, wrapping landmarks around the world and creating temporary installations such as floating piers, field of umbrellas, or gigantic curtains and pyramid-like structures made of oil barrels. His partner in life and in art, Jeanne Claude, died in 2009. Take a journey through his works and browse the project portfolio.
FRIENDS OF SEEFEST
SEEfest program and activities are supported, in part, by the California Arts Council, a state agency; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture; and by an Arts Grant from the City of West Hollywood. Special thanks to ELMA, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their continued support of our programs.
Warning: singing can be a dangerous business! Ever since we took the road trip with Bulgarian filmmaker Adela Peeva in 2006 with her iconic film, it has been a non-stop movie travel through competing histories, similar yet antagonistic cultures, always peppered with characteristic black humor and idiosyncratic music. The Balkan Sound entertained our audiences through many more music and ethnomusic documentaries throughout SEEfest’s decade and a half.
Whose is this song? was our first opening film in 2006
And it all began with Whose is this song? in 2006, at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, our original home where SEEfest was welcomed and nurtured by programmer Margit Kleinman and media manager Stefan Kloo.
Nicholas Wood wrote about the film in the International Herald Tribune and mentioned some interesting details.
“The film does not attempt to define where the song originally came from, although Peeva said she was given numerous differing explanations, including the possibility that it had been introduced by soldiers from Scotland who were based in Turkey during the Crimean War.
In Greece it is known as “Apo Xeno Eopo,” or “From a foreign land,” and in Turkey it is called “Uskudar,” after the region of Istanbul.
The Turkish version was the subject of a film, “Katip” (The Clerk), directed by Ulku Erakalin in the 1960s, and the singer and actress Eartha Kitt recorded a version of the song, also called “Uskudar,” in the 1970s.”
Whose is this song? is available in the U.S. thanks to DER, Documentary Educational Resources collection in Watertown, Massachusetts. Check it out! It’s well worth it, and still very much relevant.
Whose is this song?
70 min, 2003
in Bulgarian, Turkish, Greek, Albanian, and Bosnian
with English subtitles
About the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest)
SEEfest presents cinematic and cultural diversity of South East Europe to American audiences and creates cultural connections through films, literary and art talks, retrospectives, and community events. The 15th festival will take place from April 29 to May 6, 2020.
Stay up to date with SEEfest Events and join us on our Facebook Page.
OPENING NIGHT FILM REVEALED…
Moon Hotel Kabul by Romania’s Anca Damian will open SEEfest with its West Coast premiere on May 1, 2019, at 7 PM at the Writers Guild Theater, 135 S. Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills.
Damian won Best Director Award at the Warsaw International Film Festival and the Mirada International Award at the Madrid Film Festival for this gripping mystery/thriller about Ivan, a charismatic but cynical investigative journalist with a sharp sense for story and no time for compassion. Everything changes after a one night stand in a Kabul hotel room with a translator named Ioana. Not long after their encounter, Ioana is found dead, and Ivan sets out on an investigation unlike any he has undertaken.
With all the best qualities of a sophisticated mystery and stellar lead performances, Moon Hotel Kabul will keep you guessing until the end.
“Anca Damian is the Agnès Varda of Romanian cinema: versatile, innovative, and audacious!” said SEEfest founder & artistic director Vera Mijojlić. “We are honored to open the 2019 South East European Film Festival Los Angeles with her latest daring work.”
This event is supported by the Blue Heron Foundation.
This year’s SEEfest, running May 1-8, will explore the theme of cinematic audacity by drawing attention to filmmakers whose works grapple with complex existential, ethical, and historical questions in innovative, and provocative ways. You can secure your festival pass now on Eventbrite.
Croatia, 2018, 75’
Directors: Dubravka Turić, Filip Mojzes, Filip Peruzović
The thematic framework of the 3-story anthology feature film Deep Cuts is violence in all of its forms: as a destruction of intimacy, family, integrity, trust.
THE NIGHT OF THE BEAR
Romania, 2018, 77’
Director: Paul-Razvan Macovei
Three 17-year olds and would-be friends share emotionally-charged stories of their family life in the course of one summer night. Their often-absurd fights are mediated by the ironical appearance of a giant discarded teddy bear.
In his debut feature director, Macovei employs a unique story technique that will be especially appealing to young adult audiences (16 to 18-year-olds). He breaks the 4th wall to allow his subjects to talk directly to the audience and uses 2D animation featuring bears in lieu of people to illustrate family dynamics.
This screening is supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute, New York.
SUNRISE IN KIMMERIA
West Coast Premiere
Cyprus, 2018, 99’
Director: Simon Farmakas
A young villager gets caught in a tragicomic tug-o’-war, when a strange sphere, tracked by a foreign intelligence agency, crash-lands into his potato field.
Avoiding the stereotypical ethnographic comedies of the genre, the storyline intertwines the lives of the local villagers with the intelligence agents, combining the peasant-like naivety with international conspiracies and intrigues, conveying similarities that the latter has with the run-of-the-mill village rivalries and their struggle for authority and ownership.
Screening in the Sci-Fi program — stay tuned for more program announcements.
North American Premiere
Bulgaria, 2018, 96’
Director: Nadejda Koseva
Irina is a part-time waitress in a small Bulgarian town. On the same day, she gets fired her husband gets into a serious accident, plunging them even deeper into poverty. To make ends meet, she becomes a surrogate mother.
With her emotions oscillating between disappointing family circumstances and new pregnancy, Irina confronts them with fierce determination and in her own unsentimental way discovers what it means to love and to forgive.
Winner of Best First Film, Best Actress and Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers award at the Golden Rose festival in Bulgaria, Special Jury Award for actress Martina Apostolova and Ecumenical Jury Award at Warsaw IFF, Best Feature Film Award at Tirana FF, Best First Feature Film Award & Best Actress Award at Cottbus FF, and Special mention to the actress Martina Apostolova at Tbilisi IFF.
This screening is supported by Calypso Media.
AUDACIOUS STORYTELLERS: SEEfest CULTURAL AND LITERARY SALON
A historian, a literary critic, an actress, and an author come together for an evening of scintillating cultural exchange. These dynamic panelists draw on their knowledge, experience, and anecdotes to contemplate the theme of audacity in all of its forms.
The SEEFest Cultural and Literary Salon will explore audacity in the literature, history, and cinema of South East Europe, where geopolitical borders act as audacious protagonists in sociocultural affairs.
Presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division. Click here for details and to RSVP.
SEEfest program and activities are supported, in part, by the California Arts Council, a state agency; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; and presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division. Special thanks to ELMA for continued support of our programs.